The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Part 3: The Good, Part A

I don’t even know where to start this, the final installment of my Wedding Blog Trilogy. Like Star Wars, everyone’s probably going to say that it sucked because it was too cutesy with the Ewoks, even though it’s my favorite episode because Han gets out of the Carbonite and everyone wins.

I guess I can start at the rehearsal dinner, because the rehearsal REHEARSAL was actually pretty terrifying. Having worked at a Theater Camp for 15 years, I know that you can’t tell 19 people to walk a certain way at a certain time ONCE and expect that they’re going to remember it the next day. I can barely remembered where I PARKED earlier this morning.

The rehearsal dinner was a sort of awesome blur. I had a new dress to wear, and best of all, SOMEONE ELSE HAD PLANNED IT, so all I had to do was show up and stay alive. Both of those things actually turned out to be difficult. We got super lost driving there because the GPS really wanted us to drive into the ocean…and once we all sat down to eat, I had some sort of reaction to two different inhalers I had accidentally taken too close together.

I came down with a Killer Death Disease 2 weeks prior at the Bachelorette Party (read: Hadn’t Hollywood Taught Me Anything About Having The Bachelorette Party As Far From The Wedding As Possible?), and my doctor had prescribed two inhalers — one to take at night and one to take after a serious coughing fit. It being both night and coughing-fit time, I took both a few minutes apart and promptly felt…really weird, kinda nauseous, kinda like fainting, and I’m sure being all nervous didn’t help.

But this is the blog about GOOD things, so the good thing was that I didn’t die, and a few leaves of salad later, and I was back to feeling mostly alive.

After dinner, we shut off the lights and sat back as my aunt Becky played a DVD she had made using photos of Tyler and me set to tear-jerking music. I can’t imagine how much time it takes for her to make these DVDs, but if it’s anything like webdesign, you soon begin to hate the things you’ve been staring at for the last 5 hours. So I hope my aunt doesn’t now loathe adorable little girls hugging cats and adorable little boys hugging dogs. I would hate to be the reason for that. I frequently send her youtube videos of cats, which she seems to enjoy, so we’re 25% in the clear.

Then my mom sat me and Tyler back-to-back to play the Shoe Game, using questions that she, Becky, and Jordan had come up with. If you don’t know the Shoe Game, it’s where the bride-to-be and groom-to-be take off their shoes which, hopefully, look very different, and answer questions such as “Who is the better driver? Who cooks more?” Then, without looking at each other, they’re supposed to lift up the shoe of the person who is the answer to that question. They’re supposed to hold up the same owner’s shoe, if everyone’s honest with each other, but it can be pretty funny when you share things that people didn’t expect, like that Tyler is the better cook, or that he’s the one who apologises first. Actually, that last one probably wasn’t surprising to anyone. I am not a great person.

I think we only answered two differently, and they were “Who’s spent the more time onstage?” and “Whose family is the craziest?” The last one was obviously diplomatic (we both chose our own), and the first one, I think I answered incorrectly. I’ve been in more plays total, but I really only had one performance of each, while Tyler had whole Summer runs.

Also a little bit of ominous foreshadowing: we both shot *my* shoe in the air for “Who is the better driver?” and two days later, my car was totaled. (Proving my point it was her fault?)

After that, we spent a few more hours talking with family. Since the next night would largely boogie-ing down, we wanted to thank them all personally for taking the time to come out to Californ-I-A.

At some point, my dad called to say he was on his way back from the airport with my brother in tow, and I gave the secret wink to Tyler, Jordan, and my mom that we had to leave to practice.

As luck would have it, the Reception space wasn’t booked for an event the Friday night before the wedding (Book your weddings in the off-season, people!), and we were able to sneak into the room. For the past month or so, Tyler and I had been privately practicing our choreographed first dance. And by “first dance,” I mean “first two dances.”

When you’re in Musical Theater for 15 years, you become pretty good friends with choreographers, especially my very favorite choreographer, Dianne Melodia. I had seen her back in August and begged her to choreograph these two dances I had in mind. She teared up and accepted, but we were going to have to be very tech savvy and sneaky about it all.

The first dance with me and Tyler was “Hello” by Lionel Richie. Everyone who’s ever met me has heard this story a thousand times, but I’ll say it here to the interwebs. When I was little, I lived in Germany, and the only TV I watched were VCR tapes from TV shows sent overseas by family. One of my favorite tapes was a Disney Valentine’s Day special, where they took popular music of the time and played it over clips of Disney movies. For example, Chip and Dale danced with a sexy girl chipmunk to “Dress You Up” by Madonna, and a montage of characters picked up phones over “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” For my favorite part, “Hello” by Lionel Richie played over the scene in Bambi where all the characters fall in love with girls. When I was little, I told myself that I would “know” that I was meant to be married to someone who sang this song to me. As I grew up and went through high school and college and music styles changed so drastically, I figured it was a fat chance that my prophecy would ever come true, and just forgot about it. Until one day, I was sitting in Tyler’s room in his old apartment, and out of the blue, he started singing this random ’80s song to me that had meant so much to me as a child. Daaaaw, yes, it’s true. I’m not making it up, and that’s why I chose it as our first song. Also because grooms get no say in wedding matters.

Dianne was, of course, used to choreographing more lyrical, jazz-handy numbers, but she worked her magic and got her husband — also a super talented triple-threat — to dance to this song in their kitchen in front of a Mac, record it, and upload it as a private video on vimeo.com.

I also had something else in mind…because I like including people in things. Jordan and Ryan had as any years in musical theater as I did, and I wanted them to be a part of the fun. So I chose a group number from Wicked, recut it together to make it have 4 parts, and asked Dianne to choreograph this, as well. Tyler and I had been practicing this for weeks, also via vimeo private video, and I had sent it to Ryan and Jordan…but I also know that they’re busy adults who don’t maybe have a rec room in the basement of their houses where they can rehearse in the dead of night.

So the night of the rehearsal dinner, right before bed was the FIRST time the four of us could rehearse as a group IN TOTAL SECRECY and hope everything went well. If they hadn’t been practicing at home, I couldn’t notice, because 3 or 4 runs through, and we were looking pretty good. I felt good about that, but now I had to worry about myself.

I had purchased white “bridal” tennis shoes for my mom to glue wedding tchotchkes to, in part because I love the movie “Father of the Bride,” but also because I knew I would break my neck if I did this dance in heels. There were jumps. There were lifts. There were quick 180s. The only thing that I wanted to leave up to chance was my dress — which added a good 10-20 pounds and several feet of width. I was really concerned that Tyler, who had, of course, never seen my dress, would be able to still lift me and get close to me when I took up so much more space.

We rehearsed as much as we could, and I’ll always remember that fun night. My mom and dad counting out the beats, Ryan sneaking bites of McNuggets because he hadn’t eaten all night, Jordan coming up with some clutch last-minute choreography, and everyone texting curious friends and family members, saying we were all actually somewhere else, doing something really important and vague. It was really a great time.

Right before the stroke of midnight, I dove into my mom’s car to go back to her hotel room, and Tyler dove into his to spend his last night as a bachelor back in our suite.

Holy cats, this is getting long. Okay, in the spirit of not boring you with one huge blog, I’ll bore you with 2 medium blogs. Next time, we’ll have “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Part 3: The Good, Part B, Still Good.”